San Mateo Kicks Off Initiative to Update General Plan

San Mateo, Request for Proposals, General Plan, California Environmental Quality Act, Franklin Templeton Investments, Essex Property Trust, GoPro

By Michele Chandler

San Mateo wants to enlist a consultant to help the community develop a general plan update to serve as a blueprint for the fast-growing city through the year 2040.

The city of San Mateo issued its Request for Proposals on December 18 to find “a qualified consultant (or team of consultants) to assist staff with a comprehensive update of the city’s General Plan.” In addition, the RFP said, San Mateo wants assistance developing a related environmental review in conformance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Proposals are due on January 16. After a review, the winning proposal will likely be selected by March or April, said Julia Klein, principal planner for the city of San Mateo. The city council would be tasked with ultimately approving the award, she said.

The city has set its target date for completing the general plan update in March 2020.

The general plan update effort arose from residents’ concerns about housing and traffic woes in the upscale enclave that’s home to about 103,000 residents and major companies including financial services firm Franklin Templeton Investments, real estate investment trust Essex Property Trust Inc. and lifestyle camera company GoPro Inc., among others.

The move also comes as 10 development projects, including office buildings and residences, are under construction in San Mateo, according to the city’s website.

During public forums about the various developments and an update about housing a few years ago, city staff heard “recurring themes” about housing and traffic, said Klein.

“What we were hearing from community members who came out for that effort: They were talking about the lack of housing, not just in San Mateo, but across the Bay Area,” said Klein.

The housing crunch comes as about 20,410 new jobs are projected to be created in San Mateo between 2010 and 2040. During the same period, the city’s population is expected to grow nearly 30 percent, to approximately 126,000, according to estimates from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) research group.

San Mateo is the second largest city in San Mateo County after Daly City.

All California cities and counties are required by the state of California to have a general plan, while state law mandates that the plan address seven specific topics: land use, housing, circulation, open space, conservation, noise and safety.

The last comprehensive update of the San Mateo general plan was adopted in 1990.

The City Council and Planning Commission use the general plan in considering land use and planning-related decisions, while the plan also guides future funding decisions.

The General Plan update effort joins a number of other long-range planning-related issues that are now being considered.

In November 2016, the San Mateo City Council awarded a contract to Perkins & Will to fill the role of primary consultant for the Downtown Specific Plan update planning process. That plan, originally adopted in 2009 to guide development for San Mateo’s main neighborhood, is due for a major refresh to reflect today’s bustling Peninsula economy.

San Mateo also wants to revamp its iconic, 16-acre Central Park and accepted public input on its plan from October 30 through December 1 to help city officials tailor how to upgrade the park to accommodate future uses as well as user growth. Some of the initiatives that the city is considering were outlined in another article The Registry completed in November of 2017.

A public hearing on the Central Park Master Plan before the Parks and Recreation Commission is scheduled for February 7 at 7 p.m. at the San Mateo City Hall.

An overhaul of the park was deemed necessary because San Mateo’s population continues to rise and the current Central Park plan—adopted in 1982—is no longer meeting the city’s needs.

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